Ahhh holidays. We look forward to them all year, don’t we? I knew this year was going to be slightly different, what with having a small child to take care of and all that, but I was still sure that I’d be able to switch off and unwind, because after all, it’s just about being in a different environment, right?! Not really, Hayley.
We recently went on our holibobs to Cornwall, and yes, I had been looking forward to it all year! However, the whole ‘switch off and unwind’ thing didn’t really happen, and it was a real shock to the system actually. I found it pretty hard not to resent the fact that I was still having to change nappies, do night feeds and stop Lawson from climbing on EVERYTHING, even though I was on holiday. I now know, you don’t really get holidays from being a mum…
Anywho, resentment and bitterness aside, here are some things I learned whilst being away as a parent. If you’re going away soon, I hope these offer some practical advice and give you a heads up about some unexpected feelings you might come across.
1. You don’t need to pack as much as you think
Being our first holiday with Lawson, I packed everything he owns. Here are a few of the things I didn’t actually end up using:
- 50 million white vests
- 25 million muslin squares
- A wooly hat
- A winter coat
- Baby moccasins
- All the toys
On the other hand, we ended up running out of baby wipes (4 packs in one week… I mean…), and we couldn’t have been without copious pouches and ready made milk, all of which resulted in the most horrific poo explosion we’ve experienced to date, but nevertheless, they made life easier for a while.
2. You will probably be more tired than usual
You know how you normally feel tired for a bit on holiday anyway because ‘you’ve stopped’ and all that? Add that to a seriously out of routine (and potentially jet lagged if you’re abroad) baby, and that means you’re an honorary member of team no sleep for the duration of your stay. Lawson was completely out of sorts while we were away (I mean it’s understandable), and we had him in our bed most nights. Travel cots suck.
3. You don’t really get to do stuff for you anymore
Most of our activities whilst we were away were totally centred around Lawson and what he might find interesting. There was a lot of talk of going to Sea Life Centres, water parks, and soft plays in the process of planning our retreat. Thankfully, we got great weather for the most part, so our main activity was hitting up the beach, and I’m not going to complain about that. I did notice a real shift in my attitude though, in that I just wanted to do stuff to make Lawson happy, I didn’t really care about my own plans anymore.
4. Your ‘magic moments’ with your little one feel even more magical
I use the phrase ‘magic moments’ to describe those times when you really feel rewarded as a mum for all of your hard work. It might be just your baby or child giving you a huge hug, maybe they fall asleep in your arms, or they say ‘I love you’ for the first time. On holiday, these magic moments feel AMAZING. The fact that Lawson slept in our bed most nights was such a special treat for us, along with the fact that he was able to experience sand, and the sea for the first time ever. The whole thing was just magical, and it made the lack of routine and sleep deprivation worth it.
5. You’ll feel an insane amount of guilt when it’s time to go home
This surprised me. On our last day, when we were saying goodbye to my family, to the house we stayed in, to the beach just a 10 minute walk away, I was overcome with HUGE mum guilt that I didn’t expect at all. Lawson LOVED having all of my family around him, especially his gorgeous cousin. I felt guilty for taking that away from him! The house we were staying in was much more spacious than our house, and he LOVED the freedom of being able to crawl and climb around in a big space. I felt guilty taking that away from him too. I felt bad taking away the view of the sea and the feel of sand between his toes (however annoying it is to wash out in the bath). The mum guilt was so real on that last day.
Regardless of the lack of sleep, the mum guilt, and the inability to really relax; ultimately we had an amazing time. Of course we did, it was our first holiday as a family of three! We made memories, we laughed, we ate an insane amount of food – it was really great. And now I feel better equipped to know what to expect for next time.
Do you have any top tips for taking babies/kids on holiday? I’d love to hear them! Leave your comments and suggestions below!